Senior salaried employees renegotiate employment terms
Collective bargaining has continued since the autumn. Some agreements negotiated by the Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff (YTN) already came to an end last October, and the last agreements remaining in force are due to expire at the end of January. No new negotiated settlements have been achieved to date.
The labour market has now returned to a state of tension, with strike warnings issued in several bargaining sectors by the Industrial Union, the Finnish Paper Workers’ Union and Trade Union Pro. The threatened two-week strikes would begin at the turn of January and February.
YTN negotiates the collective agreements of TEK members, with support from TEK staff members ranging from lawyers to specialists in collective bargaining and communications.
TEK Negotiations Director Teemu Hankamäki also serves as President of YTN.
What’s the current state of collective bargaining?
– Though the recent breakthrough settlement between the Industrial Union and Technology Industries of Finland has attracted considerable media coverage, it doesn’t seem to have cleared the general gridlock in collective bargaining. This is particularly due to a firm line taken on the employer side that even though the working time arrangements of the 2016 Competitiveness Pact were withdrawn from the Industrial Union agreement, they should by no means be automatically eliminated from other collective agreements. Less attention has been paid in general to the fact that no new settlement has yet been reached for almost 70 per cent of employees covered by collective agreements negotiated by Technology Industries of Finland, meaning about 200,000 salaried and senior salaried employees.
– YTN will nevertheless continue negotiations next week with a view to achieving settlements on several fronts, including the technology industries, the design sector, the IT sector, the chemical industry and the energy sector. There are also several negotiations ongoing in service sectors, such as ICT, finance and architectural design.
How would you describe the progress of these negotiations?
– Collective bargaining with the employer side is continuing in an appropriate and constructive spirit, but two familiar aspects are hampering progress: the size and manner of pay rises and the working time arrangements of the 2016 Competitiveness Pact.
The latter aspect is probably the biggest obstacle to a settlement at this stage. The employers are continuing to require unpaid additional work from senior salaried employees, even though this practice will end under the settlement reached with the Industrial Union. Such a divergence is unacceptable for many reasons. Working time statistics clearly show that specialists are already working far longer hours than would be required under their employment contracts. There is no way that international competitiveness can depend on a contractual requirement for senior salaried employees to do unpaid work.
– Negotiations are currently on hold as we await the crucial outcome of talks to avert the impending major strikes by blue and white-collar employees in the chemical, forest and technology industries in the coming days. YTN has issued no strike warnings for the time being, preferring continued pursuit of a settlement through normal negotiating channels.
Collective bargaining is ongoing. Further details of these negotiations will be released in Finnish on the YTN website at www.ytn.fi/neuvottelut.